eliot & drew bike through india for 3 months, trying to inconspicuously do some good in the world.

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Wednesday, January 27, 2010

hallucinate or cook in the sun, your choice.



eliot and i both decided to go with doxycycline for our malaria medication. the decision basically came down to cost and side effects. Chloroquine used to be the thing to do, but it has some pretty serious side effects that can happen.  while uncommon, many malaria-carrying mosquitoes are resistant to chloroquine now.  oh, and only the females carry malaria (of course, the harlots). some quick notes on malaria meds, taken from http://www.travelindependent.info which, as i've said before, is the real deal. i highly recommend it to anyone traveling anywhere, as it's filled with no-nonsense, rational advice that really cuts through the chaff. anyway: 

"Since compliance is always an issue, Mefloquine is easier because it is only taken once a week and has a long half life. They should be taken with a full glass of water and with food. Additionally, Doxycycline is irritating so after taking it, one should maintain an upright position (don't go to sleep) for an hour to decrease the chance that it will reflux back up. Just to mention, Doxycycline is one of the drugs used to treat traveller's diarrhoea, so using it daily to protect against malaria will also help to prevent traveller's diarrhoea or so the theory goes. This is because it is an anti-biotic ...


"The most common side effect of Mefloquine is vivid dreams. These tend to occur the night the tablet is taken, and are not necessarily nightmares, just vivid dreams. For Doxycycline it is photosensitivity (increased sensitivity of skin to sunlight) and an upset stomach. Make sure you are taking the right medication for the region you are travelling in. Again... you may not need either Mefloquine or Doxycycline - it is quite possible to visit a country with a malarial risk and never get anywhere near an that risk area (Cambodia, Bolivia, Thailand, South Africa, Iran, Namibia, China, Burma, Nepal - there are loads of them!).


"As a footnote, many feel the focus on Malaria is misdirected, Dengue fever is common in regions such as SE Asia (its geographic spread is similar to that of malaria). The carrying mosquitoes of Dengue live indoors and bite during the day, when most are least vigilant. Dengue can be every bit as dangerous as malaria. However there's no need for paranoia - a quick squirt of repellent on the ankles or covering up is a simple, easy and effective measure. In contrast to malaria, which is more common in rural areas, it is larger cities that present the greater risk from Dengue fever."

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